According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the global enterprise collaboration services market will reach $3.5 billion in revenue by 2016. In 2010, the market registered 51.7 percent year-on-year growth to reach $898.6 million.
Cloud-based freemium services are currently driving adoption, and volumes are likely to experience an even higher CAGR between 2011 and 2016.
Positive social media experiences in the mainstream user population have prompted people to demand similar services in the enterprise environment.
Applications convergence, business process integration, and technology consolidation have been three key adoption drivers of these social interaction platforms in the enterprise.
Cloud-based platforms are gaining increasing relevance as vendors believe a cloud strategy is indispensable with the market becoming truly multi-modal and the number of social interactions over mobile devices increasing exponentially.
"Mobility is emerging as a key functionality across all platform offerings," says Dan Shey, practice director, mobile services. "Vendors realize the cloud is a powerful facilitator for application mobilization and federation across multiple devices compared to premises-based solutions."
The enterprise collaboration vendor landscape is also seeing rapid changes in terms of market leadership and vendor growth.
According to ABI's assessment, Microsoft SharePoint implementations are pervasive. However, smaller vendors are building solutions with compelling social features that can integrate well with SharePoint -- bridging significant solution gaps and addressing critical market needs.
That being said, I believe that using the word "social" to describe these online software applications (apps) is a big mistake, because to a senior executive it implies encouraging Facebook use in the workplace. That's not intended, but online social media use is typically viewed as unproductive activity by many CEOs.
Therefore, labels such a "Social Business" and "Social Commerce" are likely equally misguided. It's a faddish marketing approach to a serious topic (enterprise talent networking) that -- if executed correctly -- can greatly increase productivity among the most valuable employees within a company.